I remember a game frequently played in my elementary school. The class would sit in a circle and a student was given a certain phrase by the teacher such as “Susie Q ate beef stew.” That student then had to whisper the phrase into the next student’s ear and so on. By the time it went around the room, “Mark W. liked dogs.”
If you’re thinking, “That’s a lot like gossip!” You would be correct. It is gossip plain and simple.
And gossip is not an acceptable means to discern a person’s character. I’ve been working extra hard to not let the things I hear about someone affect my opinion of them before I even meet them.
Let’s take this a step further: Have you ever shared a cup of coffee with a friend you thought you knew only to discover your perception of them was completely wrong?
This has happened to me several times and I’ve walked away shocked at how much I didn’t know.
I’m not talking about a topic that is foreign. Judging someone based on rumors, gossip, and hearsay has been going on since there were more people than just Adam and Eve on the earth.
All I want to do is stop it from poisoning my perception of others. Many friendships are left uncultivated because of a faulty perception and I’m tired of missing opportunities!
Furthermore, let’s extend some grace to each other.
I’m not always perfect. And I bet if you were being honest, you aren’t either.
It’s easy to throw someone else under the bus and forget that last month, last week, yesterday…you needed a good dose of grace too. Don’t be afraid to ditch gossip and extend grace. It could make all the difference. The bottom line is that perception is not often reality.
Take a good look in the mirror. What is it not saying about you?